Carla's African Groundnut Soup

"Carla's winning dish from Top Chef All Stars. I love Top Chef, but it's rare to see a vegetarian dish (unless the challenge is to cook for a vegetarian and then all the chefs complain), much less a vegetarian dish that wins. Got the recipe on Bravo's website. I'm putting it here for safekeeping. I have o idea how many this serves or how long it takes, so I guessed."
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Ready In:


  • 3 tablespoons cumin (ground)
  • 1 14 tablespoons coriander (ground)
  • 5 tablespoons chermoula, spice blend
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 3 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 3 onions, roughly chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and smashed
  • 6 inches piece ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 1 (28 ounce) can tomatoes (fire roasted)
  • 4 quarts vegetable stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 lbs sweet potatoes
  • cold-pressed peanut oil, to toss
  • sea salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup peanut butter, fresh and unsalted
  • 1 lb adzuki beans, cooked in water with 2 bay leaves until tender
  • 2 poblano peppers, roasted peeled and diced
  • 3 red peppers, roasted peeled and diced
  • 10 plum tomatoes, roasted peeled and diced
  • 1 bunch parsley
  • 1 bunch mint
  • lime zest, to taste
  • 1 cup peanuts, roughly chopped (salted & roasted)
  • 14 cup sea salt
  • 1 lime wedge, per serving juiced per serving


  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  • Heat large pot on high heat. Pour in peanut oil, and then add onions. Sauté for 4-5 minutes, then add garlic and ginger. Reduce heat to medium and continue to cook until soft and translucent, another 10 minutes.
  • Sprinkle in half of spice mixture, salt to taste and stir until mixed well. Pour in crushed fire-roasted tomatoes, stock and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, then simmer for at least 1 hour. Strain broth, then puree solids with 2-3 cups of broth until very smooth. Strain through fine strainer.
  • While broth is simmering, reserve 2 sweet potatoes for garnish and dice.
  • remaining potatoes into 1/4” pieces. Toss in peanut oil, salt and pepper, and roast in 425 degree oven until just tender. Set aside to cool.
  • Place peanut butter into medium bowl and slowly whisk in 1-2 cups of broth until mixture is smooth. Pour mixture back into pot with broth.
  • Toss together cooked beans, sweet potatoes, peppers, tomatoes, parsley and mint. Season with salt, spice mixture and lime zest to taste.
  • In shallow bowl, pour broth, then spoon vegetable mixture into the center.
  • Garnish with chopped peanuts, lime juice, lime salt (zest of 2 limes mixed with ¼ cup Malden sea salt), and sweet potato chips. (Cut whole sweet potatoes into ½“ thick pieces. Use peeler to make thin ribbons. Fry in 300 degree canola oil. Salt to taste.).

Questions & Replies

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  1. Great dish. I halved the recipe and quartered the spices. I also ran out of time, so threw the potatoes and all fresh veg into a pressure cooker for an hour after the sauce had simmered for an hour. It made a great stew.
  2. This is delicious, but quite a production! Even though I simplified the steps, I managed to dirty darn near every bowl, casserole dish, and pot that I own. It does make a huge quantity, though, so I was able to freeze half of it to enjoy later. <br/><br/>I simplified this by using jarred roasted red peppers and omitting the poblanos. I used only 3 quarts of vegetable broth. Had no idea what to use as "Chermoula spices" so that was omitted as well. I also skipped the garnish.<br/><br/>But it is delish! Very bold and spicy, just the way I like it.



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